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SPRUCE RESIN AND OTHER INGREDIENTS IN SMREKOVIT PRODUCTS

100%

of ingredients in Smrekovit products are natural

0%

of ingredients in Smrekovit products are artificial

50%

of ingredients in Smrekovit products are from organic farming

SPRUCE RESIN

 

7000

years ago, the use of spruce resin in folk medicine was proven.

80

different organic compounds constitute spruce resin.

40 000 000

years, the cellular structures of the insect trapped in the spruce resin are preserved.

Spruce resin is a thick liquid product of the spruce tree. It is produced through specialized structures located both inside the trunk and on its surface. Its chemical composition began to be revealed only with the development of spectrometry and chromatography, and the knowledge of the mechanisms by which the trees discharge it, the development of electronic microscopy and its application in botany. It consists of over 80 different organic compounds. Today, we know that the resin of conifers consists of an evaporative part predominantly of monoterpenes (α-pinen, β-pinen, limonene), which play an important role in the defence against insects and pathogens and of the non-evaporative part consisting of ditrepenic acids (abietic acid and others). The mechanisms of the medicinal effects attributed to spruce resin are the result of a combination of substances in the spruce resin. (1)

HISTORY OF THE USE OF SPRUCE RESIN

 

HIPPOCRATES

Hippocrates is one of the most prominent figures in medicine and has the nickname, "the father of scientific medicine". In his works, he described methods of using spruce resin that were successfully used by doctors until the Middle Ages.

FATHER SIMON AŠIČ

Father Simon Ashič, a famous Slovenian priest and herbalist, also wrote in his works about the effects of spruce resin on muscles, body resistance and skin diseases, rashes and wounds.

IBN SIBA

Ibn Sina was a Persian scholar and is one of the greatest thinkers and doctors of the golden age of Islam. He wrote 450 works. He lived between 980 and 1037. In his works, he also wrote about the healing effects of spruce resin.

NATIVE AMERICANS

Native Americans chewed spruce resin when they had a sore throat and other problems in the oral cavity and gastrointestinal tract. From them, John B. Curtis got the idea and made the first commercial chewing gum from spruce resin in 1848. Native Americans also used preparations from spruce resin to treat cuts and abrasions.

In 5000 B.C., the ancient people of today's Finland enjoyed spruce resin. This was discovered by Finnish archaeologists in 2007. Between 460 and 370 years before Christ, the father of medicine, Hippocrates, described in his works the methods of using spruce resin that were successfully used by doctors until the Middle Ages. (2) The writings of Pliny the Younger, a Roman politician, spokesman and writer, dating from the years 61 to 113 before Christ, also say that the peasant women of ancient Rome do not wear amber necklaces only as ornaments, but as a medicine for increased glands and sore throats and gullet (amber is a polymerized resin). Similarly, the Persian physician Ibn Sina attributed healing properties to spruce resin at the beginning of the 1st millennium (2). Records from the beginning of the 16th century mention how the Prussian duke Albert Brandenburger sent medicine from hardened spruce resin to Martin Luther to treat kidney stones. (2) A preparation made from spruce resin and butter for treating wounds was prepared in Finland. It was used by Native Americans for the same purpose (9), and they also chewed the spruce resin when they had a sore throat and other problems in the oral cavity and gastrointestinal tract. It was from the Native Americans that John B. Curtis got the idea to develop the first commercial chewing gum from spruce resin in 1848. (4) In the 1970s, the Canadian chemist Henry R. Gray began to produce Grays’ Syrup from the red spruce resin that was very effective against coughing, cold, loss of voice and inflammation of the throat and bronchi.

7000 YEARS OLD SPRUCE RESIN WITH TEETH IMPRINTS

In 2007, Finnish archaeologists found a spruce resin with teeth imprints at an archaeological site. The find dates back to 5000 B.C. Ancient people in the area of today's Finland enjoyed spruce resin for a variety of problems such as sore throat and problems in the oral cavity and gastrointestinal tract.

THE FIRST CHEWING GUM FROM SPRUCE RESIN

In 1848, the American businessman John B. Curtis got the idea to make chewing gum from spruce resin, beeswax and added flavors from the Native Americans who chewed spruce resin. He succeeded in producing the first commercial chewing gum and named it "State of Maine Pure Spruce Gum".

USE OF SPRUCE RESIN IN LIVESTOCK

Until 1971, in the Gorenjska region, people produced a preparation from spruce resin, called "stinker".  In some Slovenian regions, the pure resin of conifers, mainly fir, larch and spruce, was called "pilpuh". The preparations were used for the treatment of boils, wounds, arthritis and many other problems, and were also extremely successful in treating mastitis in cows.

 

In the Slovene area, farmers used spruce resin to treat mastitis in cows, to treat wounds and various diseases in livestock and humans. In Gorenjska, the product was called "stinker". It was packed in bottles, and it got its name from its distinctive odour. Until 1971, it was made by the Sodja family from Nemški Rovt in Bohinj. The price of the preparation was comparable to the price of spirits. The children of  the Sodja homestead sold it in the villages of Bohinj, and bought shoes with the money they earned. In some Slovenian regions, the pure resin of conifers, mainly fir, larch and spruce, was called "pilpuh". They collected fresh drops of resin and used it to treat boils, wounds, arthritis and many other problems. In Lesce in Gorenjska, there was a very famous herbalist, "Prežle", who placed the black spruce resin on various parts of the body, thus treating pain in the spine and a number of other problems. The Slovenian herbalist, Father Simon Ašič (10), also wrote about the effects of spruce resin on the muscles, physical resistance and skin diseases, rashes and wounds.

In the folk medicine of the modern era, the tradition was preserved and spruce resin has been used for the treatment of abrasions, arthritis, boils, burns, colds, tuberculosis, cough, diarrhea and other digestive disorders, headache, sore throat, rheumatism, tumours and wounds. (8)

SCIENTIFIC FACTS ABOUT SPRUCE RESIN OINTMENT

 

BACTERIA

The preparation from spruce resin, spruce resin ointment, made in the traditional Finnish way, was tested in 2007 and worked as bacteriostatic agent for all tested Gram-positive bacteria and Proteus vulgaris, a Gram-negative bacteria. A very important finding is that it also has bacteriostatic effects on highly resistant bacteria, such as MRSA and VRE.

FUNGUS

Finnish scientists also tested the anti-fungal effects of spruce resin ointment in 2011. They found that the spruce resin acts strongly against all dermatophytes (fungi that cause most of the fungal skin infections in humans) as well as against Candida Albicans.

WOUNDS AND BEDSORES

In a six-month study conducted in 11 medical institutions, they compared the treatment of bedsores with a traditional preparation from spruce resin, a traditionally prepared spruce resin ointment, and a medically recognized hydrogel. During the study, 92% of the patients were healed in the group treated with the spruce resin ointment, and 44% in the second group.

The efficacy of traditional preparations such as spruce resin ointment from spruce resin and butter used in Finland for the treatment of wounds and ulcers has prompted scientists to conduct a series of studies on this complex natural product:

In a six-month-long study (Sipponen et al., 2007) performed in 11 health facilities, they compared the treatment of bedsores with a traditional preparation from spruce resin, a traditionally prepared spruce resin salve, and a medically recognized hydrogel. During the study, 92% of patients were healed in the group treated with the spruce resin preparation, and 44% in the second group. (5)

The same researchers tested the antimicrobial function with the same spruce resin ointment using routine microbiological methods. The preparation was bacteriostatic against all tested Gram-positive bacteria and against Proteus vulgaris, which is a Gram-negative bacteria. A very important finding is that it has a bacteriostatic effect even on highly resistant bacteria, such as MRSA and VRE. (6)

The Bosnian researchers Kalaba, Đurđevič Milošević and Marjanović Balaban (2009) also investigated the antimicrobial activity of the spruce essential oil. They found that spruce essential oil works on the bacteria Salmonella Enteritidis and Escheriche Coli, Baciullus subtilis and Stphylococucus aureus more efficiently than antibiotics used to treat infections with these bacteria (11).

In 2011, the aforementioned Finnish researchers also checked the effectiveness of spruce resin against fungi. They found that the resin acts strongly against all dermatophytes (fungi that cause the majority of fungal skin infections in humans) as well as against Candida Albicans. (12)

OTHER INGREDIENTS

 

PALM SHORTENING

Palm shortening is a part of palm oil, obtained naturally by removing unsaturated fats by crystallizing and filtering the palm oil – without any hydrogenation, so it doesn't contain any trans fats. The palm shortening we use in our products is sourced from small farms in Ecuador – it is produced from the palm Elaeis guineensis that originated from Africa. Palm oil was always considered to be healthy, as it contains vitamin E and carotenoids, which converts into vitamin A in our body. By heating it up multiple times, the palm oil loses some of the vitamins and antioxidants, which is why it is not recommended.

Since the consumption of palm oil worldwide has increased in the last few decades, the production of the oil presents an environmental and social problem in some Asian countries. To develop palm plantations, big corporation cut down and burn big parts of natural forests and thus interfere with the natural ecosystem and endanger many animals, like orangutans.

Our philosophy doesn't mesh with such exploitation of nature, so the Smrekovit products like the spruce resin ointment Smrekovit Klasik, spruce resin ointment with cooling effect Smrekovit Ekstra and Smrekovit capsules contain only the palm shortening with organic certification, which includes RSPO (sustainable oil without rainforest exploitation), Fair-for-Life fair trade , non-GMO (without genetically modified organisms), Kosher OU and Rainforest Alliance. This way of producing palm oil doesn't damage the environment but actually contributes to biodiversity. If you want to find out more about the palm oil that is used in the Smrekovit products, you can check out: www.palmdoneright.co

Palm shortening is a part of palm oil, obtained naturally by removing unsaturated fats by crystallizing and filtering the palm oil – without any hydrogenation, so it doesn't contain any trans fats. The palm shortening we use in our products is sourced from small farms in Ecuador – it is produced from the palm Elaeis guineensis that originated from Africa. Palm oil was always considered to be healthy, as it contains vitamin E and carotenoids, which converts into vitamin A in our body. By heating it up multiple times, the palm oil loses some of the vitamins and antioxidants, which is why it is not recommended.

Since the consumption of palm oil worldwide has increased in the last few decades, the production of the oil presents an environmental and social problem in some Asian countries. To develop palm plantations, big corporation cut down and burn big parts of natural forests and thus interfere with the natural ecosystem and endanger many animals, like orangutans.

Our philosophy doesn't mesh with such exploitation of nature, so the Smrekovit products like the spruce resin ointment Smrekovit Klasik, spruce resin ointment with cooling effect Smrekovit Ekstra and Smrekovit capsules contain only the palm shortening with organic certification, which includes RSPO (sustainable oil without rainforest exploitation), Fair-for-Life fair trade , non-GMO (without genetically modified organisms), Kosher OU and Rainforest Alliance. This way of producing palm oil doesn't damage the environment but actually contributes to biodiversity. If you want to find out more about the palm oil that is used in the Smrekovit products, you can check out: www.palmdoneright.co

VEGETABLE OILS

The Smrekovit spruce resin ointments and creams also contain sunflower and pumpkin seed oil. Pumpkin seed oil is the Slovenian specialty and is obtained from the pumpkin seeds Cucurbita pepo. It has the geographical indication of “Štajersko-prekmursko bučno olje”. It contains vitamins E, A, B, C and D and is an important source of unsaturated fats as well as Omega 6 and Omega 3 fatty acids.

Sunflower oil is a widely used vegetable oil obtained from sunflower seeds (Helianthus annuus) which contain oleic acid and unsaturated fats. Sunflower oil is a natural source of vitamin E.

The Smrekovit spruce resin ointments and creams also contain sunflower and pumpkin seed oil. Pumpkin seed oil is the Slovenian specialty and is obtained from the pumpkin seeds Cucurbita pepo. It has the geographical indication of “Štajersko-prekmursko bučno olje”. It contains vitamins E, A, B, C and D and is an important source of unsaturated fats as well as Omega 6 and Omega 3 fatty acids.

Sunflower oil is a widely used vegetable oil obtained from sunflower seeds (Helianthus annuus) which contain oleic acid and unsaturated fats. Sunflower oil is a natural source of vitamin E.

 
 

BEESWAX

Beeswax is produced by honey bees. It is yellow as the result of pollen and coniferous resin (propolis) that it contains. As the raw material to produce the wax, the bees use honey. For a bee to produce 1 kg of beeswax, they must collect around 8 kg of honey. It is made using their special wax glands and turned into shape with their legs. Beeswax is the ingredient in Smrekovit spruce resin ointments and Smrekovit capsules.

BEESWAX

Beeswax is produced by honey bees. It is yellow as the result of pollen and coniferous resin (propolis) that it contains. As the raw material to produce the wax, the bees use honey. For a bee to produce 1 kg of beeswax, they must collect around 8 kg of honey. It is made using their special wax glands and turned into shape with their legs. Beeswax is the ingredient in Smrekovit spruce resin ointments and Smrekovit capsules.

 
 

NATURAL EMULSIFIERS AND STABILIZERS

Smrekovit spruce resin creams contain emulsifiers and thickeners that are purely natural. 
Xanthan gum is a polysaccharide obtained from glucose fermentation which is aided by a microorganism called Xanthomonas Campestris, which gave it its name.
Cetosteryl alcohol is a mixture of fatty alcohols which are obtained from palm and coconut oil.
Glyceryl stearate is obtained from a variety of vegetable fats, like palm oil, soy oil and other oils. It is also produced naturally in the human body where it protects the skin against free radicals.

Smrekovit spruce resin creams contain emulsifiers and thickeners that are purely natural. 
Xanthan gum is a polysaccharide obtained from glucose fermentation which is aided by a microorganism called Xanthomonas Campestris, which gave it its name.
Cetosteryl alcohol is a mixture of fatty alcohols which are obtained from palm and coconut oil.
Glyceryl stearate is obtained from a variety of vegetable fats, like palm oil, soy oil and other oils. It is also produced naturally in the human body where it protects the skin against free radicals.

CAMPHOR AND MENTHOL

Camphor and menthol are the ingredients in Smrekovit spruce resin products with the cooling effect (Smrekovit Extra in a tube and Smrekovit Extra in a jar). Menthol is also an ingredient in Smrekovit oral spray with the taste of menthol.

Camphor is a natural, waxy substance that is obtained from the Cinnamomum Camphora tree, but the substance can also be synthetic since its chemical formula is a known one.

Menthol is a natural, transparent, crystallized substance naturally obtained from the mint oil (Mentha piperita). However the substance can also be synthetic since its chemical formula is a known one.

Both camphor and menthol contained in the Smrekovit spruce resin products work as mild local anesthetic and affect the skin's receptors for temperature so they provide a cooling effect. The actual skin temperature doesn't change when using the product.

Camphor and menthol are the ingredients in Smrekovit spruce resin products with the cooling effect (Smrekovit Extra in a tube and Smrekovit Extra in a jar). Menthol is also an ingredient in Smrekovit oral spray with the taste of menthol.

Camphor is a natural, waxy substance that is obtained from the Cinnamomum Camphora tree, but the substance can also be synthetic since its chemical formula is a known one.

Menthol is a natural, transparent, crystallized substance naturally obtained from the mint oil (Mentha piperita). However the substance can also be synthetic since its chemical formula is a known one.

Both camphor and menthol contained in the Smrekovit spruce resin products work as mild local anesthetic and affect the skin's receptors for temperature so they provide a cooling effect. The actual skin temperature doesn't change when using the product.

 
 

ESSENTIAL OILS AND NATURAL AROMAS

The Smrekovit spruce resin creams contain a pine essential oil (Pinus sylvestris). A pine belongs to the pine family, the same as spruce, which is why the chemical composition and the effects of the two are the same. The pine essential oil is used mainly due to its aromatic characteristics as the spruce resin itself is strong enough to not need any help.

The Smrekovit oral spray contains an orange essential oil, which hides the bitter taste of spruce resin.

The Smrekovit spruce resin creams contain a pine essential oil (Pinus sylvestris). A pine belongs to the pine family, the same as spruce, which is why the chemical composition and the effects of the two are the same. The pine essential oil is used mainly due to its aromatic characteristics as the spruce resin itself is strong enough to not need any help.

The Smrekovit oral spray contains an orange essential oil, which hides the bitter taste of spruce resin.

THE CAPSULE COATING

The coating of Smrekovit capsules is made from beef gelatine, which is a clear, colourless substance without a smell or a taste. It is made from collagen and other proteins and peptides which allows it to dissolve when it comes in contact with saliva and digestive juices. The capsules are white due to the natural colouring from titanium oxide, which is commonly used in the food industry as a white pigment due to its safety. The capsules are coloured due to the specific production process of the Smrekovit products, which makes it impossible for them to be transparent.

The coating of Smrekovit capsules is made from beef gelatine, which is a clear, colourless substance without a smell or a taste. It is made from collagen and other proteins and peptides which allows it to dissolve when it comes in contact with saliva and digestive juices. The capsules are white due to the natural colouring from titanium oxide, which is commonly used in the food industry as a white pigment due to its safety. The capsules are coloured due to the specific production process of the Smrekovit products, which makes it impossible for them to be transparent.

 
 

"This ointment truly is a miracle,« is what customers say. »You helped me,« they say. But
the truth is I didn't really help anyone – they helped themselves. I just took what was already
created (spruce resin), made it even better and put it into jars. "

IVO KONC

(the inventor of the spruce resin ointment in an interview in 1996)

SMREKOVIT, MATIC KONC S.P.

PODMOLNIŠKA CESTA 14

1261 LJUBLJANA-DOBRUNJE

SLOVENIA

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Author of website design and content: Matic Konc

Copyright © 2019, Smrekovit, Matic Konc s.p.

published:  26.04.2019

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